Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Award for DK, TV, BCO, ASGI, Lecture, Ultra Cool stars, Sirius Domes, Dublin Sun

Hi all,
1. I'm delighted to announce the following Award received by Deirdre Kelleghan of the IAS and IFAS: 
   "The American Association for the Advancement of Science, publishers of Science Magazine, has honoured Deirdre Kelleghan for her 'Deadly Moons' Drawing Workshop with the Prestigious SPORE Award."
   Deadly Moons, an interactive drawing workshop for children created by Deirdre Kelleghan, has been recognised for its educational value by Science Magazine, the publication of The American Association for the Advancement of Science.         
   Deadly Moons is an interactive drawing workshop. It teaches children aged 6 – 12 about our moon and some of the other exotic moons in our solar system. Deirdre Kelleghan created 'Deadly Moons' in March 2008; she found that children had a very positive reaction to it. The title of the workshop was inspired from the local dialect children use in Ireland, they have said to her 'that's deadly' when they looked at the moon through her telescope.  'To children the word 'Deadly' means 'Totally Amazing', therefore it was an already welcoming positive word and that's the appeal of the title'  - says Deirdre.
   It is Deirdre's belief 'that awareness of our moon and the Universe in general should be fundamental to the education of young children.  When I found that UNAWE were looking for downloadable resources, I was delighted to offer the Deadly Moons workshop to them as they could reach more children than I could ever do'."
   The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) has been established to encourage innovation and excellence in education, as well as to encourage the use of high-quality on-line resources by students, teachers, and the public.
   I'm sure you'll all join me in congratulating Deirdre on this well-deserved award.
2. TV: Wednesday 31 August, BBC2, 9.00 Horizon: "The Core."
   What may lie at the Earth's core has been the stuff of science fiction for decades. Now scientists are uncovering a bizarre and alien world situated 4,000 miles beneath our feet. It is a planet buried within the planet we know, where storms rage within a sea of white-hot metal and crystals combine to form giant forests on a metallic core as big as the Moon. Horizon follows the experiments which are re-creating this hidden world in laboratories.
Also on BBC HD.  6290
    We will never be able to dig to the earth's core. We may be able to travel into space, but the pressures and temperatures under the Earth's crust make it a no-go area for humans. But as this Horizon explains, that hasn't stopped resourceful scientists finding other ways to explore the extreme strangeness of the deep, subterranean world.
    Seismologists have used the echoes of earthquakes to work out that not only is there a swirling mass of liquid metal 4000 miles beneath our feet (which, by the way, creates the magnetic field that protects us from the solar wind) but also in the midst of that is a solid metal ball the size of the moon, covered in a forest of vast crystals. How they worked all this out is very clever and helps explain why the earth's magnetic field will probably, in the next few thousand years, reverse. David Butcher
3. Blackrock Castle Observatory Events:
    First Fridays at the Castle:  Activities and workshops for kids, families and science fans at our free monthly event. This month's talk is "Death from Space" - a humorous look at the various ways that life on Earth can be wiped out, or made intolerable by cosmic phenomena,

    Celebrating 50 years of human space flight is the theme for World Space Week 2011, which will take place from October 4 - 10.  At BCO we're going to celebrate in style with rocket launches, NASA astronauts and much more!


4. The Astronomical Science Group of Ireland (ASGI) autumn meeting will be held in Armagh Observatory on Monday September 5th 2011.  The programme will consist of oral presentations and posters from the astronomical community. This is the first call for contributions. Please submit your name and presentation or poster title (specifying which) to Neil Trappe. Email: .This is a professional level meeting, but members of organisations affiliated to ASGI, such as the Irish Astronomical Association, are welcome to attend. However, note that most of the presentations require 3rd level maths and physics for full understanding.



Discover an astronomy chart done 1300 years ago by a Chinese Astronomer. Dr. Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud will present his work on Chinese Star Charts on the 7th of September 2011 at Dunsink Observatory (DIAS)
   Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud is an astrophysicist at the Astrophysical Department of the French Atomic Energy Commission (C.E.A.), a specialist in high energy astrophysics and in the study of highly condensed stars in the Galaxy (white dwarfs, neutrons stars and black holes). He is involved in several international collaborations to search, locate and study new sources of X-rays and gamma-rays in the Galaxy by means of space astronomy. He is currently taking part in scientific programs, using the European satellites XMM (X-ray Multiple mirror Mission, XMM) and INTEGRAL (International Gamma-ray Astrophysics Laboratory).
   Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud has also a deep interest in the history and popularisation of astronomy. He is at present the scientific adviser of the French astronomy magazine "Ciel et Espace". He has published numerous articles in different magazines and newspapers and was also the author of different television programs.
   He is currently carrying out research works on the roots of astronomy in Africa and China. After publishing results concerning the rate of star explosions in the Galaxy and the colour change of the star Sirius deduced from historical Chinese reports, he is now involved in a systematic study of the oldest Chinese Star Charts to evaluate their scientific content.

 Presentation at DUNSINK OBSERVATORY (DIAS) Castleknock, Dublin 15, Wednesday 7th September at 8 pm (20.00 hrs). A 40/45 min lecture in English with Q&A + a 12-15 min Break, with some refreshments for informal discussion. +  A visit to the South Dome and the Grubb Telescope. +  With possible observations of the night sky through the Grubb Telescope and others if the weather is kind on that evening

Contact Details for the Event to be held in Dunsink Observatory: For your e-ticket request please e-mail on or before Monday 22nd August 2011 (17.00 hrs)

Please head the request for your e-ticket/s "Chinese Star Charts" by Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud Dunsink Obs 7th Sept 2011, and state the number of tickets that you require. DIAS has a minimum age limit of 12 years of age for an evening event such as this.
   More details if required from: Hilary O'Donnell/Sullivan, Astrophysics and Astronomy Section, School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland.  Telephone + 353-1-662 13 33, Fax + 353-1-524 23 02, E-mail Mobile number 00 353 (0) 87 629 49 66.


6. Discovered: Stars as Cool as the Human Body. Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have discovered six "Y dwarfs" -- starlike bodies with temperatures as cool as the human body.

Astronomers hunted these dark orbs for more than a decade without success. When viewed with a visible-light telescope, they are nearly impossible to see. WISE's infrared vision allowed the telescope to finally spot the faint glow of a half dozen Y dwarfs relatively close to our sun, within a distance of about 40 light-years. The Y's are the coldest members of the brown dwarf family. Brown dwarfs are sometimes referred to as "failed" stars. They are too low in mass to fuse atoms at their cores and thus don't burn with the fires that keep stars like our sun shining steadily for billions of years. Instead, these objects cool and fade with time, until what little light they do emit is at infrared wavelengths. The atmospheres of brown dwarfs are similar to those of gas giant planets like Jupiter, but they are easier to observe because they are alone in space, away from the blinding light of a parent star.

So far, WISE data have revealed 100 new brown dwarfs.  Of these, six are classified as cool Y's. One of the Y dwarfs, called WISE 1828+2650, is the record holder for the coldest brown dwarf with an estimated atmospheric temperature cooler than room temperature, or less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).

7. Sirius Observatories and Domes: Dr Andy McCrea of North Down Telescopes is now the exclusive Ireland dealer for the well known Sirius Observatories and domes. The observatories come in a range of sizes from 2.3m, 6.7m and 5m. They are weather-resistant and easy to install and the modular design is easy to maintain with a gelcoat finish. They also manufacture a range of domes to suit buildings. Email Andy at for prices/delivery.

8. IAA Solar Event in Merrion Square, Dublin. The IAA was invited by Dublin Civic Trust to run a 'Solar Afternoon Event' as part of Dublin Garden Squares Day on Saturday 27 August. As the event was in the open air, we had no back-up option of our usual Planetarium shows, so it was totally weather-dependent. Not surprisingly, we had the usual Irish mixture of sunshine and showers, the latter causing some fun as we hastily tried to put telescopes and the display material under cover! Our invitation came too late for the event to be covered in their publicity, but even so we had a steady flow of interested members of the public. They were treated to some excellent views of two lovely prominences in the H-Alpha Solarscopes, and a total of 6 sunspots in white light, two of which were bigger than the Earth.
   Thanks to Barry Pickup, Deirdre Kelleghan and Michael Murphy for coming along to help me. T.M.
9. JOINING the IRISH ASTRONOMICAL ASSOCIATION is now even easier: This link downloads a Word document to join the IAA.  See also
Clear skies,
Terry Moseley


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